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World Bank to invest $350m in Nigeria to support safe water, sanitation – minister

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Federal Government says World Bank will invest 350 million dollars to support the Partnership of Expanded Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) programme in Nigeria.

Mr Sulieman Adamu, the Minister of Water Resources said this at the National Stakeholders’ Consultation workshop on Nigeria Rural WASH Project on Thursday in Abuja.

“The World Bank has graciously considered our request and preparing a project in support of the PEWASH programme in the country.

“This is with an investment worth 350 million dollars to deliver sustainable and safe water and sanitation to millions of Nigerians and to support our efforts to end open defecation.

“I sincerely thank the Work Bank for this effort and hope this will open the gate for more supports from our esteemed development,‘’ he said.

Adamu said that the consultation workshop was also aimed at discussing modalities for the implementation of the propose Nigeria Sustainable Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project to be supported by the World Bank.

He said the workshop was to review and fashion out modalities necessary for the taking off and the full implementation of the project.

The minister however said that states were expected to meet certain criteria to be qualified and to be ready to receive the support of the proposed project.

He said that these criteria were not anything new, rather the same requirements were necessary for adequate preparation and smooth implementation of the project.

“Mr President during inauguration of the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of the WASH Sector in November 2018 directed that Federal Government support to state governments would be contingent upon their willingness to implement the National Action Plan.

“State governments must therefore be ready to make both political and financial commitment that will be needed for the project being prepare with the World Bank, ’’he said.

The minister while unveiling a report on the “Nigeria Rural WASH Services Access and Sustainability Report’’ said the report provides an assessment of the current rate of WASH services in the country.

He said that the reported had evaluated some of the basic drivers underpinning rates and undertook a comprehensive review of the various modalities of WASH provision in the rural Nigeria, among others.

Adamu therefore reiterated commitment to the Clean Nigeria, Use the Toilet campaign to stop open defecation in the country by 2025.

Mr Rachid Benmessaoud, the World Bank’s representative said that low access to water supply, sanitation and hygiene services (WASH) was a major reason for this poor performance.

“Lack of WASH services has led to high infant mortality, deteriorates lifelong health and reduces educational attainment that has in turn diminished labour productivity.

“The World Bank is proud to offer continued support as you embark on implementing the National Action Plan for the Revitalisation of Nigeria’s WASH sector.

“That is why this year, at the request of your government, our team has begun preparing a new 350 million dollars lending operation in support of rural communities and small towns,’’ he said.

He said that the project seeks to increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene services and strengthen capacity for service delivery.

Benmessaoud said that with the collaboration of all in the  implementation of the Action Plan, the federal, state and local governments, development partners, stakeholders, Nigeria “ can make the impossible possible’’.

Mrs Comfort Ekaro, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water Resources said the workshop was to ensure participants have a common understanding on issues that would enhance the preparation and implementation of the project under consideration by the World Bank.
JAN/GY

Edited by Grace Yussuf

Environment

Lagos woos residents to public water supply, warns against unsafe water

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The Lagos Water Corporation (LWC)
has warned residents to desist from drinking contaminated groundwater or patronising the informal sector that were not safe.

LWC Group Managing Director, Mr Muminu Badmus, in a statement, urged residents to connect to potable water supply from the Corporation a

He noted that drinking polluted groundwater or contaminated water could cause many types of diseases, which include Cholera, diarrhoea and other serious water borne diseases.

“The public water supply is fit for human consumption, it is safe, as it conforms to World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Standard, while groundwater and other informal sector are unsafe and not fit for consumption.

“The Water Quality Monitoring team of the Lagos water corporation is presently conducting a regular water quality routine check (Sampling & in-situ Analysis) on water delivered to their customers.

“The ongoing exercise is to ascertain the quality of water supplied to their homes to ensure consumption of potable water always,” Badmus said.

He, however, cautioned Lagosians on the proliferation of borehole in the state which, he said, constituted serious health and environmental hazard to the residents of the state.

Badmus appealed to Lagosians to migrate back to the public water supply for guaranteed and safe service delivery.

According to him, the persistent rainfall which goes into the sewage, finds its way to the groundwater and thereby contaminating the groundwater.

Badmus also stated that groundwater pollution was where the pit latrine in the background was polluting the shallow well in the foreground with pathogens and nitrate.

He said that shallow pollution was also caused by on-site sanitation systems, landfills, effluent from waste water treatment plants, leaking sewers, petrol filling, amongst others.

Badmus said the effluent which were released to the ground making their way down into groundwater resources and rendering it unsafe for human consumption. .

Edited by Wale Ojetimi

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Use the toilet campaign will scale up ODF campaign in States, LGs -Minister

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Campaign

Abuja, Nov. 18, 2019The National Launch of the Clean Nigeria: Use the toilet Campaign will scale up the Open Defecation Free campaign in States and Local Governments.

Adamu said this at a Pre- Launch Media Briefing on the National Launch of The Clean Nigeria Campaign in Abuja on Monday.

The campaign is to be held on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at the Eagle Square.

Adamu said the launch would coincide with the United Nations designated World Toilet Day with the theme “ Leaving No One Behind’’ which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

According to the Minister, a toilet is not just a toilet; it is a lifesaver, dignity protector and opportunity maker. It is, therefore, imperative that we ensure clean toilets for all.

He said the `This will require mobilising households to provide their sanitation facilities, while relevant government institutions are to provide their sanitation facilities, in public places such as schools and health care facilities.

Adamu said the private sector was key to improving access to WASH facilities in public places such as parks and markets, leveraging on the business opportunities therein.

“ In order to realise total coverage and sustainable access to sanitation and hygiene for the populace, every Nigerian should see himself or herself as an ambassador and a change agent.

‘`The Federal Government recognised the support of our development partners and other stakeholders in this regard.

“The Federal Government is committed to partnership and collaboration to ensure we achieve the goal of an open defecation free country by 2025 leaving no one behind and with clean toilets for all.’’

Zaid Jurji, UNCIEF Chief of WASH, said the same commitment seen at the federal level must also be seen at the state level for the campaign to have great impact.

According to him, the state must take ownership and replicate what is being done at the federal level towards ending open defecation; only Nigerians can build Nigeria; the role of development partners is to provide support.

Jurji said the private sector had the resources, adding that it was an opportunity for the sector to help the country, help their families and make profit by keying into the WASH campaign.

Also, the Country Director, WaterAid, Dr Chichi Okoye, said a lot could be done with human waste such as biogas and organic manure, as seen in developed countries.

“We are looking for a day when we can sell our “shit’’ because there is a lot of money to be made in sanitation.’’

Okoye said the campaign was about what every Nigerian could do at their various levels by incorporating it into their lifestyle.

“We need to show the example to the rest of the world as the giants of Africa that we can do it and we will do it.’’

The Director General, National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, said the agency was willingly to partner with the ministry on everything about WASH.

Abari , represented by Mrs Theresa Maduekwe, Deputy Director Public Enlightenment, Mass Mobilisation, said Nigeria must not take the sit India left, but must do everything to leave being number one in open defecation.

‘’We are available to mobilise and reoriented our people to use the toilet they have built because they will be encouraged to build toilets and latrines for themselves.

“We will streamline this campaign in our activities because the agency is everywhere, we can reach out to all Nigerians and we will achieve this laudable project.’’

Dr Nicholas Igwe, Coordinator, Organised Private Sector (OPS-WASH), said the private sector had a lot to contribute if the issue of water and sanitation is to be resolved.

Igwe, who is also the Director General, Zenith Water Project, said the infrastructural and financial gap was huge and development partners and government could not breach the gap alone, hence, the need for private sector to step in.

According to him OPS is not just to help stop open defecation but it is an avenue to create jobs and wealth in the value chain.

Comedian, Helen Paul and Harpic Ambassador, said Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Harpic in West Africa, had been preaching against open defecation, especially in schools.

Paul said in the past four years, students were been sensitised to stop ‘’shot put’’ a practice common in boarding schools.

“We are working with the ministry to ensure we create awareness by preaching against open defecation and ensuring it is stopped.

“As an entertainer, I will use all my platforms to preach against open defecation,”she said.

Nigeria News Agency reports that highlights of the pre-event included a road show from Berger round-about and Garki ultra-modern market to the Eagle Square.

Edited /Sadiya Hamza

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World Toilet Day: Aliyu advocates private sector initiatives

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Initiative

-Idris

Abuja, Nov. 18, 2019 The FCT Minister of State, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, has called for private sector initiatives to meet the 2025 Goal of ensuring that Nigeria becomes Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Aliyu made the call in a statement issued by her Special Assistant on Media, Mr Austine Elemue, on Monday in Abuja on the occasion of the United Nations World Toilet Day (WTD).

She stressed the need for greater commitment especially at a time when President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had flagged off the Clean Nigeria Campaign with Use the Toilet Initiative.

She decried the rate of Nigerians with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets, revealing that the FCT had a fair share of the over 47 million people lacking access to sanitation and hygiene in the country.

“Nigeria currently has over 47 million people with inadequate or total lack of access to toilets and another troubling 57 million lacking access to potable water.

“The FCT has its fair share of these disturbing figures.

“Therefore, the 2019 World Toilet Day is coming at a time that the Federal Government is revving up the political will to combat this scourge through a number of tools and instruments, programmes and initiatives.

” Which include partnership with the organised private sector in other to reverse the scourge and build a healthier Nigerian population.

“It saddens my heart to note that currently 102, 000 children die annually due to diseases related to sanitation. We must join hands to reverse this ugly trend,” she said.

The minister called on traditional rulers and all residents of the territory to see themselves as ambassadors and embark on the crusade to educate others on the need to desist from actions such as open defecation and indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

She affirmed that if the respective authorities fail to resolve the menace, the target to end open defecation in the nation’s capital city by 2025 may be unrealistic.

Aliyu vowed that henceforth, the FCT Administration would work closely with the six area councils and other agencies of government to scale-up commitment to implement the National WASH Action Plan to end open defecation across the territory.

NAN reports that the UN declared Nov. 19, as World Toilet Day (WTD), just as the Federal Government had a year ago declared a state of emergency in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector.

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/Sadiya Hamza

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Benue records 101 fire outbreaks in 11 months-Fire service

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The Benue Fire Service on Monday said that the state recorded a total of 101 fire outbreaks between January and November 2019.

The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Service, Mr Doo Shave, told Nigeria News Agency in Makurdi that 90 per cent of the outbreaks was caused by carelessness.

He appealed to the masses to take fire safety business seriously and always install fire safety gadgets as it was better to prevent fire outbreak than control the inferno.

“The public should take fire safety seriously. You see it is better to prevent fire than to control it.

“We have recorded, from January to date, 101 fire outbreaks across the state, including the one of today.

“These outbreaks are caused by carelessness; carelessness includes carrying out certain acts or things that can be avoided or controlled,’’ he added.

According to him, people often ignore things such as installation of fire safety gadgets, smoke detectors, fire alarms, automatic fire extinguishers etc.

“Each house should have a functional fire extinguisher and all households’ members should know how to use it,” he explained.

Mr Shave further disclosed that the recent fire outbreak at Wadata Market was also caused by carelessness as the fire started at the side where chickens were usually slaughtered.

He further appealed to the masses to always ensure that they switched off electrical appliances before leaving the house.

The PRO also hinted that the State Fire Service was well equipped to handle fire outbreaks as it currently had five functional fire fighting trucks, two water tankers across six stations in the state.

He said the quick intervention of the service during fire outbreak was dependent on how fast the office was notified.

“People should get our emergency numbers and call us during fire outbreak. It is safer to call us than drive all the way to the office.

“Our quick response to fire outbreak issue is dependent on how fast the office is notified”.

On the inferno that claimed the life of Benue Acting Permanent Secretary, Mr Seker Akaa, his wife and two children Mr Shave said the cause of the fire outbreak still remained unknown.

He said the Service was still investigating the incident to ascertain its cause.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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Taraba Water Agency enumerates 66,000 households for effective service delivery

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The Taraba State Water Supply Agency  on Monday commenced the enumeration of over 66,000 households across five local government areas in the state to build customer data base for effective and efficient service delivery.

The General Manager of the agency, Mr Musa Siam, disclosed this in his office in Jalingo.

Siam said that over 90 enumerators were engaged in the deployment for the first phase of the exercise that covered Jalingo, Wukari, Ibi, Takum and Gembu towns.

He said the exercise was aimed at identifying, re-validating and updating the present utility customer database of the agency for effective water supply delivery and for future planning.

He said that as a self sustaining agency that would soon start surviving on the revenue it generates, a strong database of existing and prospective customers was very important for effective operations.

The general manager said that due to security concerns, enumerators were drawn from the communities to avoid possible apprehension and fear of intrusion that could possibly put the lives of the people at risk.

He called on the people to cooperate with the enumerators and provide necessary information as the data that would be obtained from the field would help the agency to serve the people better.

He said this would also help in addressing other critical issues of sanitation and hygiene in the state.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the exercise is supported by USAID Effective Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Services (E-WASH) programme and will last from Nov. 17 to Dec. 31, 2019.

Edited by Cecilia Odey and Abdullahi Yusuf

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Environment

LASEPA seals 8 worship centres over environment pollution

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The Lagos State Government on Sunday closed down eight worship centres across the state for contravening environmental pollution regulations.

Dr Dolapo Fasawe, General Manager, Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA), who led the exercise, said that the facilities were closed down to save the people from health crisis that might arise from the activities of the centres.

The LASEPA boss said that there would be no hiding place for any religious organisation which failed to operate within the ambit of the law, regardless of their faith.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the sealed facilities are located at 68, Old Ota Road, Orile Agege; 4, Ademola Oshinowo Street, Off Love Street, Ketu; 1 Dele Amuda Street, Lekki.

Others are 17, Ajileye Street, Ilaje Bariga; 39, Kusenla Road, Elegushi and Ajayi Bembe Street Abule Oja, Yaba, among others.

Fasawe said that mutual respect of views, culture and religion, which the annual tolerance day celebration symbolised, must be adhered to by all residents to foster peace.

She said that religious organisations were supposed to demonstrate good conduct, tolerance, brotherliness and good neighbourliness.

The general manager, however, regretted that the conduct of some overzealous churches and mosques had caused frictions in the society.

She assured residents of the state that LASEPA would not rest on its oars in bequeathing a good ambience to all inhabitants.

“ Those recalcitrant organisations or worship centres, known to be disturbing the peace of Lagos residents, will face the full wrath of the law.

“In as much as the state government is positively disposed to the peaceful conduct of religion of choice by its citizens, it does not condone infringements on the rights of other residents in the name of religious activities.

“The agency is inundated with petitions and outcry from residents over the insensitivity and intolerance of some religious outlets in different parts of the state.

“LASEPA regrettably notes that several warnings issued to the management of these centres have not yield the result,” Fasawe said.

According to her, the state government recognises the fact that the state thrives on peaceful co-existence among practitioners of the religions.

“But of great concern to the state government is the need for religious activities to be conducted in a manner that worshippers will not infringe on others’ rights,’’ Fasawe said.

She added that the illegal and unauthorised conversion of residential property into religious uses without recourse to the wellbeing of others and the state environment law was bad.

She said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu was against such inhuman act of social intolerance in the name of worship that could breach the peace in the state.

Fasawe explained that for the sealed facilities to be reopened, the leaders of those organisations must reach an agreement of compliance with the state and also satisfy other necessary conditions as might be prescribed by LASEPA.

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde/Wale Ojetimi

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